Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors reported it first: Billy Butler has agreed to a three-year, $30 million free agent contract with the Oakland Athletics.
That’s quite a lengthy commitment to a designated hitter whose OPS has been in a freefall over the past three seasons — .882 in 2012, .787 in 2013, and .702 in 2014 — but Butler is only 28 years old and the average annual value of the deal ($10 million) isn’t too bad. Maybe he’ll be able to find new life with the A’s, who excel at exploiting righty-lefty matchups.
Butler is a .314/.393/.519 career hitter against left-handed pitching. He batted .255/.301/.352 versus righties in 2014.
Oakland needed offense. Butler should be able to help that cause, in doses.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?